Interesting to read this at Karma Cycle.
“When you’re cycling around 100 miles a week through London, you develop some strange notions. The one I can’t get out of my head is that you build up karma – good and bad – depending on how you cycle. So – if you stop at red lights, wait politely for pedestrians, smile at cars, you get rewarded – the next light turns green for you straight away, someone smiles back at you – you get the picture. Of course this doesn’t always work, but it works often enough for me to try to cycle by those rules. Most of the time.” (Karma Cycle Blogspot)
I like this because essentially the best way to enjoy cycling is to ride in a thoughtful way. When I was younger, I was always in a rush to get every where. This makes you impatient with yourself, and impatient with other people. When you’re impatient, you tend to try and force yourself through situations when it is better to wait.
It was a real revelation to be happy to take time at traffic lights, to not get mad when you have to wait for white van lorry coming in between parked cars.
I also like the general idea the best way to use the road is simply to treat other road users in a way you would like to be treated yourself.
I am a cyclist, but I’m also a motorist and pedestrian. I don’t like cyclists who charge around pavements. If I was old and frail, I’d like it even less. I’m also a motorist and I’m quite happy to give cyclists more room, even if it adds a few seconds to my journey.
However, this doesn’t mean I will always put the rule of law above common sense.
Yesterday, I was in a small Oxfordshire village on relatively narrow road, made more narrow by parked cars. An articulated lorry was coming towards me. I could have continued and made the lorry come to a complete stop. I did have the right of way. However, rather than squeeze through the tight gap, I moved onto the pavement and it was much easier for us both to go past. The lorry driver even waved in acknowledgement.
If there had been any pedestrians in the vicinity I wouldn’t have gone on the pavement. But, there weren’t – the pavement was empty and so for a few seconds I used it.
Strictly speaking it is breaking the law and it probably justifies a two page column on the immorality of cycling in the Daily Mail, but common sense suggested it was a good thing to do.
And the Karma of doing it? Well the lorry driver was happy, I was happy and no pedestrians were there to see a cyclist use the pavement for three seconds, so I reckon that’s good karma.
So now, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy all motorists giving me at least three feet whenever they overtake me on a bike….