The Little Irritations of Life #13: Urban Cyclists

Within any closed ecosystem, a hierarchy of some kind normally forms.  An example is in the case of food chains.  Consider the fox and the rabbit and the lettuce.  The fox is at the top of the food chain, the rabbit in the middle, and the lettuce at the bottom.  A similar hierarchy exists on urban streets.  Substitute car for fox, bicycle for rabbit, and pedestrian for lettuce, and the parallels are striking.

I am a lettuce… I mean pedestrian.  But my pedestrian existence is continually blighted by cyclists.  Cyclists who use my pavement; cyclists who don’t obey the highway code on the road; cyclists who ignore traffic signals; cyclists who nibble at my new leaves and fresh shoots with their sharp little incisors… sorry, wrong analogy again.

In the same way that the lettuce is rarely bothered by the fox, as a pedestrian I don’t have these same issues with cars.  In the hierarchy of a food chain, it is only necessary to be concerned by the element immediately above you.

The fox, rabbit and lettuce puts me in mind of a classic conundrum.  You know the one.  A man has to convey a fox, a rabbit and a lettuce across a river, but he can only take one at a time in his boat.  How does he get all three across, if he can’t leave the fox alone with the rabbit, or the rabbit alone with the lettuce?

Once again, let’s substitute car for fox, and bicycle for rabbit, and pedestrian for lettuce, and find out.

1. Take the bicycle across


2. Leave the bicycle and come back for the pedestrian


3. Leave the pedestrian and bring back the bicycle


4. Leave the bicycle and bring back the car


5. Come back for the bicycle and dump it mid-stream in the deepest, fastest flowing water you can find


© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree has still not addressed all his latent anger issues.


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