CiW reader Atom sent us Bruce A Mol’s perspective on transport cycling and cyclists. This is an interesting way to look at transport cycling, and I bet we can all think of people we know or see who fit into one or other of these categories.
The categories are:
1. Vigilant cyclists have undeveloped physical skills and an appreciation for the social responsibilities of cycling. They are motivated to develop their skills and social responsibilities by taking courses, reading and riding with others.
2. Veloquent cyclists have both the physical skills and a high regard for the social responsibilities of cycling in traffic. They are motivated to develop their own skills and social responsibilities as well as help develop other cyclists, and society at large, through cycling advocacy, courses, reading and riding with others.
3. Vagabond cyclists have neither the skills nor understanding of social responsibilities when on a bicycle. Most are reluctant users of bicycles. Where mental illness is not a problem, vagabond cyclists may develop the physical skills and a social conscience to ride appropriately in traffic but their ability to obtain regular food, clothing, shelter as well as meaningful employment must first be addressed.
4. The least predictable of the four types of transportation cyclist is the volatile cyclists. Volatile cyclists are physically skilled individuals who are either unaware or uncaring of the social responsibilities of cycling. Unaware volatile cyclists do not participate in cycling courses because feel there is nothing more to learn about cycling. Training programs should expose the unaware volatile cyclists to personal and social development rather than skill development. The self-development of this cyclist will, most likely, come with time (age) and experience (trial and error).
But I’m inclined to think this categorisation takes too narrow a view for a cycling future. Have a look at the people in the photo below – do any of them look likely to fit into Mol’s boxes? I reckon they’re riding because it’s easy and convenient, and they probably don’t care much about “develop[ing] other cyclists, and society at large, through cycling advocacy, courses, reading and riding with others.”
Mol’s four categories may well be applicable to New Zealand at present, but I’d prefer to leapfrog as much of that as possible and go straight to a majority of the population riding for pure convenience. Are you with me?