Sir Bradley Wiggins spoke out about some cyclists not abiding by the rules when riding in London

Sir Bradley Wiggins has voiced his concerns about the behaviour of some bicycle users on London’s roads, and the consquences their actions could have.

His motivation to step into the melee that surrounds riding in London stems from his new venture into selling children’s bikes.

“Enforcement is inevitable if it starts to get out of control,” he told the Evening Standard.  “I’m starting to sell bikes to kids now so I have a responsibility and duty to help educate people.”

Sir Bradley launched his new range of children’s bikes with UK retailer Halfords on Friday, March 11.

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“We are seeing a boom in cycling but it’s how we all coexist that is important. Cyclists have to help themselves by behaving.

“This might be the beginnings of an Amsterdam or Copenhagen but everyone abiding by the rules and co-existing is key. New cycle lanes are great but you always get cyclists who give a bad name to the rest; people who jump the kerbs, jump red lights and ride around with iPods so you can’t hear the rest of the traffic. You would not do that in a car so why would you on a bike?”

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Moving from professional cyclist to safety campaigner is something Wiggins’s predecessor as Britain’s best road rider Chris Boardman has already done, and he backed what Wiggins was saying.

“Nobody should run a red light in any vehicle, it’s the rule of the road.” Boardman also called for “less aggression” from cyclists and car drivers.

  • Colin

    You can’t just turn everything on it’s head and call it an argument. Cyclists need to take responsibility for themselves at the same time as seeking better infrastructure and protection from bad driving.

  • Like how a few speeding motorists give all motorists a bad name as well?

  • Colin

    I think his comments are perfectly valid. Poor riding gives all cyclists a bad name and further entrenches the anti-bike lobby. Ride sensibly and follow the rules of the road – then we have a better case for tackling the bad infrastructure and systemic driver issues.

  • Johnny

    Here here.

  • Johnny

    If it’s a choice between jumping a red light and staying safer on the roads, I’m jumping it. As would he, presumably.

  • Matt Dowse

    “people who jump the kerbs, jump red lights and ride around with iPods so you can’t hear the rest of the traffic. You would not do that in a car so why would you on a bike?”
    I’m afraid SBW might be surprised if he could spend any time cycling in amongst London traffic. Cyclists (as a whole) are no saints, but they’re certainly not the only sinners…

  • NitroFan

    How would you know what I meant to say?

  • Justin Barnes

    I’ve been riding every single day in and out of central London for the last 11 years and frankly cyclists and pedestrians have become the two biggest threats to my safety, most of the time at the lights I’m the only cyclist who doesn’t jump a red light.
    It’s kinda depressing to sit there waiting at the lights every day and watching idiots play Russian roulette with their lives and the lives of others.
    Of course buses, taxis, etc, are big lumps of metal and a threat, but surprisingly most motorists are considerate and give me a pretty wide berth.
    Also, because you can see how big and dangerous they are, you give them a wide berth in return.
    Problem is, you don’t see other cyclists as a similarly obvious threat, so when they act moronically they can put your life in even more danger.
    The problem isn’t helped when I’m waiting at a red light next to a police car and even they do nothing about red light jumpers when they zoom pass us and across a busy junction.
    There’s also the issue of tourists on boris bikes, cyclists listening to music on headphones, cyclists on their mobile phones talking, texting…..I could go on and on and on.

  • Tom Walker

    How many times when you are riding down a road and a car coming towards you is encroaching on YOUR side of the road just to get around parked cars instead of waiting for you to pass first.I agree its mindset though and by distancing ourselves ( the cyclists that DO abide by laws) from those that flout them will in a way create that mindset that not all cyclists are total tosspots.

  • EB

    I’d like to suggest a pair of bone conduction headphones, which don’t block either ear canals at all. If I cycle with tunes I use a pair Aftershokz Blues 2S.

    The sound fidelity is a bit worse, although surprisingly good, but it feels like when you cycle near a car with its radio on.

  • EB

    In Stamford Hill I actually had someone wind their window down at a red light and tell me I should be cycling in the “gutter like a horse”. He also told me that I should cycle right next to parked cars. And what was doubly stupid is all him going a little quicker would have a achieved is that he would have sat at the red light for longer. When I suggested he might want to check that advice in the Highway Code he told me he’d passed his theory test and didn’t need to as he knew I was wrong.

  • joe

    You meant to say many countries do things far more sensibly than the UK.

  • EB

    The reason you are getting annoyed is because there is a discontinuity between the real world and the one inside your head and it is making you throw your toys out of the pram. The answer is just to stop imagining things.

  • RedMercury

    I always get annoyed with this.

    First, it is generally accepted that cars shouldn’t do it. If you see a car driver run a red a light and you ask them, “Was that a smart thing to do?” the driver will generally answer, “No.” I got a ticket once for driving through a red light. I paid the ticket because even though at was 3AM and there were very few people on the road, I know that I did something wrong.

    Cyclists? Give a cyclist a ticket for running a red light and you will hear a litany of excuses. “It’s less convenient for me to stop! I’m only risking my own life! I have a better field of vision! I’m saving the planet! Don’t the police have anything better to do? Why are the cops targeting cyclists? It’s just not fair!”

    This, to me, is the difference. Cars break the laws, too. It’s frowned upon. They get tickets when they do this. If there are injuries, they are held accountable. But if a cyclist breaks the law, then the city government obviously hates bicyclists and bicycles and they don’t see our special needs and it’s just not fair!

  • NitroFan

    Sir Bradley also said cyclists should abide by the rules of the road in London
    So according to you anyone who feels cyclists should abide by the highway code simply because you feel it is out of date and should be changed! Is wooly headed? many countries do things differently to the UK that does not mean they are automatically right for the UK’s roads! Astonishing mind set.

  • joe

    He made the initial comparison not me… “This might be the beginnings of an Amsterdam”
    And yes it is relevant and not meaningless. Maybe the Highway code is plain out of date and needs to be changed? ASL’s are a form of light jumping already. Many countries have separated lights for cyclists that turn green first – you can also consider that a form of RLJ’ing. I think your thinking is a lot like a sheep in late spring. Rather wooly.

  • Michael

    Firstly you should perhaps read the article. The reason for Wiggins comments here derive from an interview in which he discusses his personal use of the Boris bikes in London and his intention to sell bikes, in his name, aimed at children.

    That’s the context. I can’t, therefore, see the connection between this and the whereabouts of Lewis Hamilton. Is he missing? Has he phoned his mother?

    At a guess he’s either involved in testing or PR for Mercedes or holed up somewhere with a supermodel.

    If he telephones I’ll mention you’re looking for him, Tony.

  • simon peacock

    Maybe we could advise pedestrians to actually take a glance each way before they step in to the road or drivers to check their mirrors or even bother to indicate. The rule of ‘stop behaving like a twat’ should be universal and cyclists should not be singled out Bradders.

  • LaszloZoltan

    he is absolutely right. when respect is given, it is earned

  • NitroFan

    Amsterdam is not in the UK and does not abide by the UK highway code so the comparison is pretty much meaningless.
    Sir Bradley’s comments were clearly aimed at UK riders in the UK, where all road users cars motorcycles lorries and bicycles are governed by a document called the Highway Code. Following its instruction is not a point of meaningless debate it is a point of law. All road users are expected to follow its rules if you wish to use the roads. it quite how any thinking person could suggest his comments are misplaced advice beggars belief.

  • Bruce Banner

    Unless the rules are inadequate. ‘Risky’ cycling usually involves getting out of motorists way and in is rarely the cause of accidents. Failure to give way is the only penalty that should be enforced, in particular when pedestrians are involved.

  • Bruce Banner

    Idaho permits riders to treat stop signs like give way signs and red lights like stop signs. ‘After examining 28 years of data since the laws were introduced to Idaho, public health researcher Jason Meggs found injuries resulting from bicycle accidents dropped.’Absurd that it hasn’t been adopted here, it’s safer and allows riders to get out of the motorists way.’

  • Neal Bromley

    Blah blah blah cyclists blame car drivers, car drivers blaming cyclists, same old bullshit. I run cycle trips all over Europe and without doubt we are the most rude and intolerant nation in Europe.
    A lack of respect and good manners towards other road users be it cyclists or car drivers is the problem.

  • joe

    Very few cyclists here in Amsterdam stop at red lights. Just saying… If they do its only so they don’t get hit by another road user. Otherwise strictly optional. Many lights in London were put there to calm or manage motor vehicles. So no thanks Brad. Don’t need that misplaced advice.

  • ummm…

    ONE ear bud.

  • ummm…

    lol, if we all went at a reasonable pace and stopped every 5 meters in order to not put ourselves in a compromising situation then it would be impractical and end up causing more jams and accidents.

  • ummm…

    i hear you brad but a bike isnt a car. I rode in London, and it is a poo show. Many times the only way to be safe is to own the lane – and that doesn’t make friends.

  • lustra

    The anti-cyclist lobby has no credibility. It is obvious that the time when every cyclist is going to obey every rule will never come but even if it did the hatred against people who use a bike would continue unabated. The real problem comes from motorists who are killing and injuring on an industrial scale with no calls from anyone that it should stop. Meanwhile the victim-blaming continues and some cyclists seem to have a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome.

  • EB

    I agree. The quote actually includes “you would not do that in a car”, which is factually incorrect as jumping red lights, driving on the pavement and isolating yourself from noises are all common in car drivers.

    Suggesting that all cyclists obey the rules is fine in la la land, but in the real world it is no more likely to happen than car drivers are to start not jumping by reds and not listening to their radios.

    He could do much better just by acknowledging that all motoring groups can be better and the onus isn’t just on cyclists.

  • f1cyclist

    Completely agree with jumping red lights and showing respect to other road users as a cyclist. However, I do like to ride with music on at a reasonable volume and can hear / see other road users – which is not dangerous – just like automotive users would play music / listen to the radio in their vehicles whilst driving.

  • Where is Lewis Hamilton? Why isn’t he telling motorists how to drive more legally? Probably because he’d be laughed out. But for some reason we need a bloke who makes his living riding at 30mph plus telling your average two wheel Joe (or Joanna) who is just trying to use poorly designed infrastructure amid motorists that routinely break the law that he is at fault. Im just saying, he could do better than this…

  • Michael

    Well, no. You can’t deflect away cyclists breaking the rules by pointing at other people.

    If only for the same reason – i.e every cyclist that jumps a red light does reflect badly on those who don’t precisely because people tend to think like you and will therefore blame all cyclists for the law-breaking behaviour of some or to justify their own law breaking behaviour.

    You know, the taxi driver will say the same as you if you point out his bad driving “You should tell that to the cyclist who do x, y and z”

    That kind of finger pointing should be left behind in primary school or kindergarten where it was first learnt.

    Sadly so-called cycling advocacy is not very intelligent.

    So kudos to Wiggins and Boardman for not adopting the holier-than-thou attitude that many commuting cyclists do, that they are above and beyond laws.

    Note, cyclists are not “the most vulnerable” at all. Motorcyclists and pedestrians are killed and maimed in significantly greater numbers – so even the self-pity side of your debate neglects the facts. Plus, pedestrians can (and are) injured by buffoons jumping pedestrian crossings or speeding through stationary traffic.

    The bottom line here : cars are already being fixed. The fix for that is self-driving cars. Once that happens cyclists will find themselves with no excuse for their poor use of the road.

    As Wiggins is selling kids bikes it makes sense for him to educate cyclists. If you’re 50 and can’t follow the rules, it’s perhaps too late, but there might be some hope that a kid can follow the rules rather than saying “But, miss, he did something wrong!” in response.

  • harry

    Bottom line is us cyclists are more vulnerable, I’ll admit I take risks on a bike that would wind me up as a driver because I don’t want to lose momentum etc…. all you can do is remind yourself how easily you could get squished and put the avg speed on the back-burner.
    To the same extent many drivers are idiots, yet when I’m in a car or especially on a motorbike I take the position that all other road users are idiots….. and it hurts me to say it, but when in a car I’ve been behind cyclists that carry on like idiots too. There’s no point taking the high ground but to look out for yourself.

  • Andrew Gleeson

    Couldn’t agree more. The idea of a government in the UK going all Australian on UK bike rules is too horrible a thought to consider. IMHO cyclists getting our collective affairs in order by not tolerating bad behaviour by fellow cyclists is key.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    He’s right – it’s a minority of cyclists who trangress, but if all DID obey the rules of the road, then the anti-cyclist lobby would have their arguments pulled out from under their feet.

  • EB

    “people who jump the kerbs, jump red lights and ride around with iPods so you can’t hear the rest of the traffic. You would not do that in a car so why would you on a bike?”

    All of those are very common in cars. A large number of car drivers don’t seem to understand how traffic lights work and see nothing wrong with going through an early red. Cars are frequently parked on the pavement, which requires jumping it and reduces room for pedestrians. And playing loud music in a sound proofed car is not dissimilar to headphones. All those things are considered fine by those that do them.

    I personally wouldn’t have loud music in a car and wouldn’t wear headphones. In fact I’d support a compulsory roof top microphone to capture outside sound. Etc. Etc. But there are a large minority of pillocks who are pillocks whether they are behind the wheel or on a bike.

  • I think he’d get be better to advise motorists to obey the rules of the road regards speed limits, advanced cycle stop lines and adequate passing distances. Then if he wants to further help he can advise councils on how to design proper infrastructure to allow kids to safely ride on the road. Then he can certainly start preaching to the most vulnerable users on the road, the cyclists.

    It’s great that he’s launching a bike brand with Halfords and helping get cycling further into the mainstream, t’s just an unfortunate choice of priorities on what can help bring about a cycling revolution in this country.

    Maybe he can get Lewis Hamilton to advise drivers on how to drive safely?

    Bikesy co uk