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CyclingMikey says cyclists breaking rules are "annoying", but not focusing on drivers to improve road safety the "wrong way round"

The road safety campaigner urged critics of cyclists to "focus on the real menace on our public highways" and said recording and reporting law-breaking road users is "a war on dangerous and selfish road behaviours", not a "war on motorists"...

CyclingMikey — real name Mike van Erp — the camera cyclist who has reported thousands of motorists for their rule-breaking driving and mobile phone use, uploading footage to social media platforms and YouTube, has urged those who criticise cyclists' behaviour on the roads to instead focus on the "real menace on our public highways".

The road safety campaigner has penned a column for the Evening Standard, a follow-up piece to the newspaper's in-depth look at camera cyclists such as himself and broadcaster Jeremy Vine last week, as well as responding to a self-professed "anti-cyclist" opinion piece by the paper's head of design which was also published last week, in which the writer claimed all cyclists should be registered and required to pass a driving test equivalent, with points and penalties for "pedalling irresponsibly" as those using bicycles need to work on their "reputation as law-abiding and safe road users before prodding at drivers".

driver on phone - via cycling mikey.PNG

Addressing the comments, Van Erp said he "agreed" that "there are lots of bad cyclists about" and that they can be "annoying" however, he argued, focusing on cyclist behaviour to improve road safety is "looking at it the wrong way round".

> "People need to see justice being done": CyclingMikey says camera cyclists suffer online abuse because some motorists "feel they have the right to drive how they want"

"It annoys us all, including many of my cycling and driving friends. Is it unsafe? Perhaps a little, but if you were to make all cyclists instantly perfect with a wave of your magic wand, would you affect road deaths and injuries? The answer is not measurably. Any effect would be lost in the never-ending flood of motor vehicle collisions, deaths and injuries that society largely ignores," he wrote.

"Bad cycling can of course be far more serious in the occasional and very rare instance, and that's why I'm happy that the police do deal with and prosecute bad cycling. There are two main reasons why I want to focus on bad driving.

Cycling Mikey gets accused of supporting Chelsea (credit - CyclingMikey YouTube)

"Two separate studies, one in America and one in Denmark, have found that we humans as cyclists are more law-abiding than drivers. This is a surprising result, but that surprise is explained away by motor-normativity, in which our society excuses and ignores risks associated with driving far more than it excuses other similar bad behaviours that are roundly condemned.

"Secondly, there's physics. When you're in a two-tonne steel cage, a car with 100+bhp, seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones, we all are vulnerable to risk compensation. We act to keep our own personal risk at a similar level. When you're in a car, this means far greater danger to those outside the car, especially pedestrians and cyclists. It means driving faster and braking later than you would on a bicycle, on which we'd all be much more cautious.

> Why do cyclists use action cameras? We asked and you told us

"This is not a war on drivers, it's a war on dangerous and selfish road behaviours that put us all at risk. Most bad driving is reported by other drivers with dashcams. Were you to wave that same magic wand and make all drivers instantly perfect, you would eliminate almost all of the 1,800 deaths and 27,000 serious injuries every year in the UK. That is why we must focus on the real menace on our public highways – those drivers who are in the problem group, breaking laws without a thought of anyone else."

That problem group, he explained, might involve what leading traffic police DCS Andy Cox described as high-risk traffic offenders, those with a history of dangerous driving, regular drink or drug driving, and those who continue to drive dangerously despite intervention or prosecution.

cycling mikey regents park

Addressing his own action against dangerous driving, namely the filming and reporting of rule-breaking motorists, Van Erp said he first began sharing footage on social media as a means of "showing the world how badly some drivers behave", in the hope it would "open many people's eyes".

> "Cyclists with cameras are grassing snitches... motorists with dash-cams are responsible citizens": BBC radio discussion looks at third-party reporting

The comments come following a similar opinion piece by the newspaper's head of design Ped Millichamp, in which he professed to being an "anti-cyclist cyclist" who commutes across London but is turned off by cyclists who don't "stay in your lane" and are "dobbing in other road users".

"Focus on improving the reputation of your fellow pedallers," he suggested. "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."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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38 comments

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Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
0 likes

Im glad you say war on bad behaviour  because while there are crazy drivers the most crazy stuff we see on a daily basis are by bikers . When was the last time you saw a car going the wrong way in a one way road whilst drinking a cup of coffee or tail gating a lorry at 2 mtrs at 55mph or go through red lights when you can clearly see vehicles coming or driving on the wrong side with your child in a trailer . We consistently see this stuff in my area they appear to think that common sense and a sense of self preservation doesn't apply to them 

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perce replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
4 likes

I think you need to buy some maniac cyclist repellent - I should imagine you can buy it off of the internet. I started using elephant repellent years ago - on a Tuesday I think it was - and it's great. I spray a little under my armpits every morning and I'm good to go. Never had a problem with elephants since, even when Billy Smart's circus were in town. I'm thinking about getting some tiger repellent as well.

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Rendel Harris replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
4 likes
Wheelywheelygood wrote:

When was the last time you saw a car going the wrong way in a one way road whilst drinking a cup of coffee or tail gating a lorry at 2 mtrs at 55mph or go through red lights when you can clearly see vehicles coming

To be fair, never; especially never seen a car drinking a cup of coffee. I regularly see plenty of drivers doing all those things though.

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Hirsute replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
5 likes

I watch 3 dash cam series - all those can be seen each week.

Driving on the pavement to get past a queue is increasing in popularity.

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perce replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
2 likes

Had to get a bus a couple of weeks ago after dropping my bike off. Parked cars on our side of the road, so every single car coming the other way drove on the pavement. And there were plenty of them. 

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brooksby replied to Wheelywheelygood | 1 month ago
2 likes

I do keep meaning to ask what kind of bike you ride, wheelywheelygood - do you have an (adapted?) two wheeler or do you ride a trike?

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
3 likes

Wankpanzer I'd have thought.

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

I do keep meaning to ask what kind of bike you ride, wheelywheelygood - do you have an (adapted?) two wheeler or do you ride a trike?

Hobby-horse?  (Often seems to be a two-wheeler).

Meanwhile in the Netherlands...

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grOg | 1 month ago
0 likes

The problem with van twerp is not him reporting, but his confrontation with offending drivers; in Australia, this action falls under road rage legislation and he would be charged accordingly. He also likes to attend court hearings of his victims.. he is a creep.

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Rendel Harris replied to grOg | 1 month ago
19 likes
grOg wrote:

The problem with van twerp is not him reporting, but his confrontation with offending drivers; in Australia, this action falls under road rage legislation and he would be charged accordingly. He also likes to attend court hearings of his victims.. he is a creep.

Firstly, if someone is using their phone whilst driving they are a clear danger to others, so if possible it's best to "confront" them and tell them to stop. What if they were just filmed without their knowledge and then hit a pedestrian down the road because they hadn't put the phone down? Secondly, CM doesn't attend court hearings for fun (and as a sidenote, people committing road crime are not "victims", they are perpetrators, the people they kill and injure are the victims), if you send video evidence and the case goes to court you have to attend as a witness and explain the cirumstances of the incident, if you don't appear nine times out of ten the case will fail as the defence will file a motion to dismiss on the grounds that they didn't get a fair chance to question the witness.

By the way I've looked up Australian road rage legislation and what you say is complete nonsense, road rage is defined as menacing another person with your car and/or making threats to damage them or their property or actually doing so as a result of a road incident. CM does none of these things so not applicable, as would be quite obvious to anybody not determined to slander him because they hate the idea of drivers being called to account.

As ever with your posts, if it's true that you used to be a UK traffic officer, thank goodness we got shot of you.

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marmotte27 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
7 likes

Thank you for your work.

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marmotte27 replied to grOg | 1 month ago
7 likes

trOll

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perce replied to grOg | 1 month ago
6 likes

Is he not required to attend court hearings of his ''victims'' ? 

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Hirsute replied to grOg | 1 month ago
7 likes

He attends when he is called.
Or don't they bother with witnesses in Australia?

Another one who thinks vehicle offences are not crimes.

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hawkinspeter replied to grOg | 1 month ago
11 likes
grOg wrote:

The problem with van twerp is not him reporting, but his confrontation with offending drivers; in Australia, this action falls under road rage legislation and he would be charged accordingly. He also likes to attend court hearings of his victims.. he is a creep.

The problem with Mikey is that there is a real need for people like him doing what he does as otherwise drivers continue to endanger others with impunity. Whether he "likes" to attend court hearings is irrelevant, but he doesn't do it for fun but because he feels very strongly about road danger since his father was killed by a drunk driver.

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Hirsute replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
10 likes

As I highlighted in one of the blogs this week, there is no driver behaviour that people will not defend.
He might irritate a few but a good number will realise their behaviour will result in consequences.

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SteveBr replied to grOg | 1 month ago
3 likes

Grig
Wrong.

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Eton Rifle replied to grOg | 1 month ago
1 like

This one going how you expected?
🤣🤣🤣🤣

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Car Delenda Est | 1 month ago
13 likes

The reportings will stop when motorists improve..

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Benthic replied to Car Delenda Est | 1 month ago
5 likes
Quote:

...think it's OK to be dressed in black...

It is.

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mikewood | 1 month ago
17 likes

Once again, any comments about cyclists not using cycling infrastruture are completely missing the point that it wouldn't be necessary if people didn't drive like tw4ts... 

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Car Delenda Est replied to mikewood | 1 month ago
8 likes

I don't think that's true, there will always be a need for separated cycle infra. Many people, myself included and also many who do not yet cycle, wouldn't feel safe even if motorists really tried their hardest to drive safely.

I think the point they're really missing is that you wouldn't have a go at a motorist for avoiding the motorway if they felt unsafe or for taking the motorway instead of winding through smaller roads if they were in a hurry.
Only cyclists are required to justify their route to society.

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chrisonabike replied to Car Delenda Est | 1 month ago
3 likes

Amen!

I do understand why people say "but just make the drivers drive better" or even "but just remove all the cars".  After all, almost every day I ride on the road and am not killed or injured by a motorist!  Plus the roads are very wide and are made for fast travel, and almost everyone conceeds we'll continue to need motor transport.  So they will be there and we'll still be paying for them.  Indeed originally they were filled with cyclists [1] [2]!

The main issue is that people (in many different countries) have repeatedly shown they just won't cycle where there is lots of motor traffic, or high speed differentials.  (Fortunately this doesn't mean we need a cycle path next to every single motor vehicle route.  That's far from the case even in NL!)

Beyond that the roads of today (and even many streets) are actually not well-suited to cycling, even if we could somehow remove the danger or even unpleasantness from motor traffic.

Since cycling is so space-efficient we can have smaller routes - we can stop maintaining all that tarmac and reclaim space.  Wider spaces also are less pleasant for pedestrians to negociate - it's easy to cross a cycle path thoughCyclists by themselves don't need traffic lights or roundabouts amongst many other things - those are "because cars".  Kerbs for motor vehicles are not good for cyclists.  Roads used by lots of motor vehicles tend to get damaged quickly - which is more of a problem for those cycling than driving.

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levestane replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
5 likes
chrisonabike wrote:

...almost everyone conceeds we'll continue to need motor transport..

Fundamentally, we don't need motor transport. We need clean air and water, food (not ultra-processed), shelter (affordable) and a functioning ecosphere. The issue is societal, forcing individuals to have to use motor transport to function in society, i.e., it's a social construct.

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chrisonabike replied to levestane | 1 month ago
1 like

Like healthcare or formal education?

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grOg replied to levestane | 1 month ago
2 likes

We don't need hot water to bathe either but it's nice though..

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chrisonabike replied to grOg | 1 month ago
1 like

It's becoming less of an issue over my lifetime but for some days each year without heating, it's not water, it's ice!

I suspect that the pattern of more humans using ever more resources is almost irreversible - except temporarily via war or natural disaster. Our social nature and flexible, copying behaviour make that possible - but we might not like contemplating the shape of societies which could achieve that...

Looking longer term though species making themselves extinct through success - or at least hitting a limit - is a natural phenomenon!

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john_smith replied to grOg | 1 month ago
0 likes

We don't need to bathe at all.

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Oldfatgit replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
0 likes

Once the government has finished forcing us on to a single energy source, and we're all having to heat water by electricity ... we won't be able to *afford* to bathe.

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Eton Rifle | 1 month ago
3 likes

That's not Lawrence Fox, is it?
Same sniper's dream forehead and humourless demeanour. It would explain a lot.

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