Who’s The Victim?

A decent-length road ride with Charli – an unusual combination as she normally prefers to ride off-road.

Somewhere off near Shurlock Row we were passed by an old couple in some small nondescript car. As they overtook he leant on his horn. He didn’t need to. We’re considerate riders – we’ll ride single file unless there’s plenty of room / plenty of visibility. We weren’t holding him up.

It happens very, very rarely but every now and then you’ll get someone like that – someone who appears to be annoyed just by the fact that you’re a cyclist on the road.

They are, of course, arseholes, but that aside …

If you read cycling-related comments, letters, blogs and what-have-you, incidents akin to this are often related and it feels to me to be all too common to perceive the cyclist as a victim, actual or potential.

Obviously, whether you’re hit by a car or some old crone leans on his horn as he overtakes, you’re on the receiving end – so yes, technically I guess that makes you the victim.

However, physical injuries aside, today’s little episode made me wonder about the whole victimhood perception. After all, it’s the driver who’s the uptight, unhappy one, not me or Charli. We might be on the receiving end of his sad little frustrations, but in the big scheme of things, he’s the victim – of life. We’re out there enjoying ourselves.

If we – cyclists – want to promote cycling then we need to see ourselves more positively.

If we – cyclists –are able to see that there are better alternatives to up-tight lives, then a solid step would be to start actively promoting the perception that it’s the unhappy and frustrated who are victims.