As a motorist, cyclist and pedestrian, I’ve noticed it’s getting a bit cross out there. Technically the rules of the road should really be enough to keep all the different types of road users safe and happy but that doesn’t always work. I propose a much smaller rulebook go with the Rules of the Road — a summarising Appendix called The Rules of Not Being A Langer.
Based on no science whatsoever, I think there is probably a rough Bell-Curve distribution of people on the Langer scale. On the far left, there are those who are definitely not langers.
They see you in the queue in Lidl with your two cans of Galahad and a box of firelighters and they gesture you forward ahead of their family Big Shop. They never bogged the fag in school back in the days of eight students per smoke. They own and use jump leads.
Then there are out and out langers. These are the fly-tippers, the people who hang tiny bags of their dogshit in a tree, who never rewound the video at Xtravision, neighbours who won’t cut their leylandiis.
Which leaves the rest of us. We are all capable of kindness and being a langer and it is a struggle sometimes to do the right thing and not be a langer.
So here’s a few things that we, the three main branches of road user — pedestrian, cyclist, enginey vehicle drivers — could do to Not Be A Langer.
Let’s start with cyclists. Let’s ignore the old chestnuts of cycling tropes that keep the clickbait and comment-bait media in gravy. Let’s focus on two positive quick wins. If you’re a cyclist and you see a motorist trying to turn right and you can spare the hard-won momentum, wave them out like you would if you were driving. Go on do it. It’s your little gift to the universe. They may even give you a salute of acknowledgement. The successful execution of a right turn and accompanying salute is the mental health vitamin we all crave as drivers. Cyclists help yourselves to some capsules.
Speaking of which, when you give a hand signal yourself when you want to change lanes (you know you’re supposed to do that, right?), here’s the clincher, give a little wave of thanks. The motorist will get a little rush of positivity It will be like un-listening to Someone On Newstalk going on about cyclists.
Motorists, I know you’re angry. Or some of you are anyway. I can see your low expectations of us. But the problem for many motorists who get cross with cyclists is they haven’t cycled here.
The fact that our road is basically the broken piece of tarmac between drains, that traffic passes us by about four inches to spare.
See how pedestrians just step off the pavement forcing us onto a Luas track the builders were too scabby to bike-proof, see distracted drivers pull out of driveways. Divert some of the time you spend commenting on Facebook about cyclists to watching a few Youtube videos. Literally see it from our point of view.
Pedestrians — it’s the phone.
Always the phone. Don’t get me wrong. The timely liking of someone else’s post on Instagram is important because if you don’t they won’t like the next one you post and ‘it’s all about those numbers’.
But based on my experience it’s at that moment that I’m trying to turn onto the street you are crossing without looking and the bell is no good because you are alos listening to a true crime podcast and tweeting about how you are ‘shook’ after the latest revelation. You would have heard a car but not a bicycle. Think of it is as training for when electric cars come in.
The Rules of Not Being a Langer is a work in progress. Any tips for page 2?