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The Road Rules – And When to Break Them

By Christopher Ashley

You’d be hard pushed to find someone who didn’t think 2020 was a tough year. But there are still plenty of things to get angry about like whether people are following the rules – or not. Let’s start 2021 as we mean to go on.

You gotta wave

Type “should cyclists wave to each other?” into Google and you’ll discover a deluge of opinion pieces about whether you should. There are rowdy arguments on whether a friendly wave is an essential courtesy which fuels the cycling community or a passive-aggressive demand for conformity.


The cyclist fuzzdog on bikeradar.com talks of his move from leafy Surrey to urban London where the “bankers” on £6000 Pinarellos “have no respect” while ChefSqueaky on reddit.com says “you’re under no obligation to wave at people. You need to relax”.

Fix your own punctures

In my opinion, you should never patch or try to fix inner tubes. I always carry several spare tubes and a pocket knife to check the tyre for shards and when I get home, I don’t have time to faff about fixing them. I use the spare time selling wallets made from recycled punctured tubes.

I’m convinced the only time you actually need to patch an inner tube is if you’re a dad and your kid has burst an inner tube again. Thinking back, my dad was clearly punishing us kids by forcing us to fill a bucket full of freezing water on the patio, inflating the dish-detergent smeared inner tube and dunking it to look for bubbles. To this day, I swerve to avoid anything vaguely sharp looking.

Cyclists shouldn’t jump red lights

Greg Dickinson wrote an article for The Telegraph with the incendiary title ‘I jump red lights and so should you’. I personally advocate not breaking the law. You will be pulled over by the police and charged a fixed penalty notice.

Some junctions look as if an early departure will allow you to get ahead of traffic and avoid holding it up. But I still don’t believe this is a sensible time to break the law – especially as cyclists are vulnerable. This rule isn’t for breaking – just write to your local authority if you think a junction can be improved.

In the spirit of a new age, I’m going to make a call for unity. Think about why the rules are there – if they’re there to make you and other people safer, please follow them. And if they’re there to bring some joy into peoples lives, maybe 2021 is the year to give them a go.