You and the law

My darlings, the law is an ass. And an ass is a creature that cannot ride a bicycle. Take heart though, as the principle of common law here in the motherland’s colonies, means we are beholden only to juries of our own peers: fellow cyclists [1]. Thus I tender the following guiding principles to the cycling community, that we may apply these as yardsticks when judging each other:

Alcohol The legal blood alcohol limit for cycling, is as for dancing. Thus anyone who was dancing well upon leaving the nightclub to go cycle home, may proceed with a clear conscience.

Guilty: can’t dance.                                                                         Ass riding bike.               More helmets!!!

Helmets A complex scale determines when a helmet is to be worn, taking into account age, speed, proximity to hazards and a further 15 lesser factors. To illustrate, a 4 year old hurtling down a steep hill should be wearing as many as 4 helmets (according to the scale, and according to steepness), while an adult returning from Food Works on the footpath, with a loaf of bread and 2 liters of milk, would actually be offending his or her bicycling peers if they did wear a helmet.

Speed When determining minimum and maximum allowable speeds, cyclists should first estimate the average speed of all users heading along the same route as themselves. Consider a pathway winding through a public park, on which 10 pedestrians are strolling at 2km/h, and 1 other cyclist is riding at 20km/h. The average speed, for all 11 people using that path, is 3.6km/h (10×2 + 1×20 ÷ 11). Now here is the principle by which our peers are to be judged:

S = s +/- 20
S: min and max allowable speed.  s: Average speed of all present users

On any shared thoroughfare, a cyclist should not ride more than 20km/h faster, or slower, than the average speed being set by other users currently using that thoroughfare. Where the average speed is 3.6, the speed limit will be 23.6. Conversely, if a cyclist wishes to occupy a road lane in which hundreds of drivers are moving at 60km/h, the cyclist will need to ride no slower than 40km/h; that is until such a time as the cyclist has lowered all those drivers’ speeds to 40km/h, whereupon the cyclist can drop to 20km/h; that is until the drivers are all doing 20km/h, whereupon the cyclists can stop mid lane for a scratch. When the cars have all stopped as well, the cyclists may, if they so desire, ride in the other direction at 20km/h, whereupon the drivers will realize what a mistake they have made heading out in such an unwieldy 4 wheeled contraption.

To reiterate, these are not laws, but principles I wish to put out to the cycling community. If you would like me to attend court on your behalf, as a cycling peer expert witness, please email for a schedule of fees. 

1. Alas, Dr. Behooving knows nothing, really, about common law. It’s just a cool word I found and have used ever since.

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