Monday 25 November 2013

80 percent of Cambridge cyclists are illiterate! A cultural survey

Green Dragon Bridge, Cambridge, showing signs and two cyclists

When you cycle downstream along the Cam, you eventually come to the Green Dragon Bridge. Signs on either bank ask cyclists to dismount. I conducted an impromptu survey of 102 cyclists last Friday, on whether they dismounted or ride across. 80 rode across, 22 dismounted.

Two curious dog walking passers-by asked what I was surveying, to which I solemnly replied I was monitoring cyclist literacy. One commented that surely it was alright to cycle across the bridge - as long as it was done safely and with due consideration to pedestrians. The other reflected that this survey was actually a reflection of cyclist fitness. Those who dismounted did so because they could not cycle up the bridge incline!

Later that day I was in two separate Skype conversations to Germany, where I asked what the German response would be. One replied that they would only cycle across if no one was there to see, as otherwise someone would object. The second posited that this situation would not arise as all pedestrian bridges they encountered naturally ─žad a cycle path.

So, we Brits assume that rules are generally optional, with leeway for interpretation by our common sense whilst in Germany sensible construction makes regulation unnecessary.

What do you think?

Baits Bite Lock on the River Cam

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