Friday, 4 May 2012

Spot that Dick(head) - my dream app

Will Spotted Dick be the cyclist's answer to buzzword bingo?

As a regular and long-time  commuter and leisure cyclist, I have become a big fan of the CTC app fill that hole. 

and, as a regular and long time commuter and leisure cyclist I am regularly enraged by the inconsiderate behaviour of fellow road users - and very occasionally pleasantly surprised by acts of consideration and kindness (thank you to the driver who collected a dropped item and drove to return it to me just yesterday)

However… back to 'spot that dick'

"Spot that Dick' This is my dream app which will work in a manner very similar to fill that hole (with a nod of recognition to UK Snow).

When cyclists are subjected to inconsiderate (and very often potentially injurious) behaviour, what better way to deal with it than to record said activity, post an update on Facebook or twitter and log it on a web site with relevant data.

The complete specification is a work in progress, but I am more than happy to explain the rationale 

In the course of the average day, across the uk incidents occur which which will typically evoke the response - ' what a dick!' (well actually typically rather more offensive than that, but I had to be realistic when choosing a name for my dream app.

What sort of things am I talking about - I am talking about the behaviours of drivers as follows

  • drivers consistently stopping taxis and busses in cycle advance areas at junctions
  • drivers paring taxis and cars  in cycle lanes
  • drivers parking their vehicles so they obstruct access/transitions from roads to cycle lanes
  • drivers who steer their vehicles so close to cyclists that they clip them with their wing mirrors as they pass
  • drivers who make cyclists and their bikes unstable because they drive their vehicles within a couple of feet of the cyclist at speed 
  • drivers who decide to accelerate their vehicles past a cyclist and then immediately turn across their path
  • drivers who purposefully use their vehicles as weapons to 'bump' cycles at junctions whist waiting for lights to turn from red to green
  • drivers and occupants of vehicles who shout or scream on purpose to surprise and  'spook' cyclists at junctions
  • occupants of vehicles who throw eggs at cyclists
  • stop suddenly
  • open doors
Is this some wild flight of imagination where I am just fantasising about these behaviours? no - they are all behaviours to which I have been subjected over the past couple of years.
What sort of people think that this type of behaviour is acceptable? in a (mildly abusive) word 'Dickheads'
So I decided that what better repost than to play 'spot that dick' the joy being that when a 'repeat offender' is identified, the cyclist can shout the triumphal claim 'spotted dick'
I can see a whole industry emerging,
  • the app
  • the logo (a steaming spotted dick)
  • the cycling vest with slogan 'I am a dick spotter'
  • the sticker to place of vehicles - announcing publicly that their driver/owner has been 'spotted' as a 'dick'
Now perhaps you ar thinking, at this point that I am one of those out of touch, ageing hippy cyclists, who doesn't understand the real world, and who does not understand exactly what threat cyclists and their offensive cycling behaviour poses to upstanding members of the public.
The thing is, I think there are very good reasons for encouraging cycling, and raising the general awareness of the public of what constitutes acceptable behaviour between cyclists, drivers and the walking public 
  • encouraging and supporting cycling can form a key part of an integrated transport policy
  • supporting individuals to use a bike in preference to a car for short journeys can ease congestion and have a positive environmental impact
  • by reducing the total number of cars of the road around towns, increased cycling can make a city quieter, cleaner and more pleasant for the whole community
  • quieter roads are more welcoming and less intimidating to the novice cyclist
  • parents can realistically cycle their children to school (or encourage them to join a cycling 'school bus') when they are reassured of quiet roads and respectful considerate motorists
  • car free streets and public spaces generate relaxed city centres where pedestrians and cyclists can mix amicably, with mutual respect
  • regular cycling over short distances helps people become more active as an everyday part of life
Are there other reasons/arguments which can be put forward?
 CTC have their safety in numbers campaign
I had originally planned to write this post today - when I dreamed up the idea of my app earlier in the week. This morning, in response to the labour win of Southampton City Council, I posted a tweet
I was disappointed to receive one of the all too predictable responses - explaining to me how many dangerous cyclists an individual had seen that week, fast cycling on pavements, ignoring lights, lack of awareness and signals …"accidents waiting to happen"
Lets look at the evidence

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