Cyclists aren’t the problem; they’re part of the solution

Taxi drivers seems to be the worst about vocalising their dislike of cyclists. I can't seem to take a cab ride without the driver complaining about cyclists being in the way and slowing them down.

But what they don't realise is that they've got it all wrong. Having to wait before you can safely overtake a cyclist may cost you a few extra seconds on your journey – but the real people who are slowing down your commute aren't cyclists, they are other drivers.

In the city drivers spend significantly more time stuck in queues behind other cars than they do being held up by cyclists.

If you want proof, just think about what happens to the roads when the schools are on holiday. Car commute times often fall dramatically during the holidays, and that's just from a 10-15% drop in traffic volumes.

So what about the cyclists, who account for just over 10% of all traffic in Dublin city centre. Suppose they all suddenly decided one day to stop cycling.  Would the roads be better? No, it would be gridlock!

People mostly cycle distances that are too great to walk. So if they're going to stop cycling and switch to a different mode of transport, then they're either going to end up driving or taking public transport – and you would have thought, if the public transport was any good, they'd already be using it.

In fact, you've probably already witnessed the problem when we get bad weather.  People who would otherwise cycle or walk to work suddenly decide to drive when it starts raining or snowing, and as such the traffic around the city grinds to a halt.

So… drivers (particularly taxi drivers), when you think about it you should be THANKING cyclists for helping to keep traffic on the move.

Posted by Richard

Richard has been blogging since 2000 about technology, cycling, singing, and life in general. Follow him on Twitter.

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