The Indie's article yesterday (on how cyclists are three times as likely to die on the roads in the UK as abroad) ended up as a comments pillow fight about pavement cycling. (Thanks to those who made sensible, considered contributions - you know who you are.)
It's the way of things these days. You can't go to any sort of meeting involving the most tangential reference to bikes without being buttonholed by some mad person when they see you're a cyclist. Often, though not always, it's a 50something woman with a 'now listen to me because my feelings are more important than everyone else's' expression. And they bang on about pavement cycling like it's anthrax or a dirty bomb or Bhopal or something. They were nearly killed by a pavement cyclist the other day and it's your fault and what are you going to do about it?
You try to explain, carefully and reasonably, that the problem is vastly overhyped. That on average one person is killed from pavement-cycling incidents every four years (possibly the cyclist) but 40 pedestrians are killed by cars every year so that's clearly the much bigger problem. (Such as this astonishing footage from the BBC website yesterday. Why isn't your silly buttonholer taking this up instead?) That there are already laws about dangerous yob cycling and that should be tackled through normal policing but sensible shared-use has to be encouraged because London's transport infrastructure won't cope otherwise.
But that doesn't shut them up. All they do is then drone on about licensing bikes, and how that'd stop it, just as licensing motor vehicles has put to a stop to all car accidents.
Bah. All very depressing. The whole pavement-cycling issue is like complaining about mobile phone loudmouths on trains was ten years ago: it's not dangerous, it's just annoying. But it's become the reason du jour for pompous people to whinge.