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Caught In A Bad Cycle

, , , , | Friendly | May 26, 2023

A friend of ours is cycling to my house to meet my brother and me. [Friend] always makes this huge thing about how quick his journeys on his bicycle are and how he always improves. Every. Single. Time. This friend also never, ever, admits to ever being in the wrong about anything. 

It’s 7:30 at night, the local roads are very quiet, and [Friend] arrives in a real temper muttering about “kids and their bloody phones”. He’s in his fifties.

Me: “What’s the matter?”

Friend: “I was riding along and this bloody kid, staring at his phone, just wandered in front of me. Bloody idiot!”

Me: “Oh, no. Did you hit him?”

Friend: “No. I had to swerve around him. I wasn’t even going that fast.”

My brother and I roll our eyes at each other.

Friend: “But he never even looked up, just randomly walking all over the place.”

Brother: *Horrified* “He was walking on the road?”

Friend: “No, he was on the pavement.”

Me: “And he walked out in front of you?”

Friend: No. He was on the pavement.”

Brother: “You were riding on the pavement?”

Friend: “Yeah, and he was walking along, head in his phone, and he never looked up! I had to swerve onto the road! I was lucky nothing was coming!”

Brother: “You can’t ride on the pavement.”

Friend: “Yes, you can! Nothing wrong with that.”

Brother: “Yes, there is. It’s illegal.”

Friend: “No, it’s not! Anyone can ride on the pavement! Perfectly legal!”

Brother: “Noooo, it’s definitely not.”

[Friend] responds in a “you-can’t-argue-with-this” manner:


As my brother attempts to explain how wrong he is, meeting with flat denials, I Google the Highway Code and present him with the actual legislation: “The Highways Act of 1835 prohibits cycling on a footpath which is by the side of a road and set apart for use by pedestrians only.”

Friend: “No! It’s not illegal! That’s wrong!”

Brother: “That’s the Highway Code. It is the law.”

Friend: “NO, it’s NOT! There are cycle paths!”

Brother: “Yeah, but that’s not a cycle path. It’s a pavement.”

Friend: “Doesn’t matter. It’s legal.”

Me: “So, this lad was walking on the pavement, at night, looking at his phone, and you came hurtling along, out of the darkness, on your bicycle, which he wouldn’t be able to hear, and you could see him but waited until the last second to dramatically swerve onto the road, and he’s in the wrong?”

Friend: “Yes!”

Then, he triumphantly adds:

Friend: “And… I had my flashing lights on!”

Me: “Which he’ll obviously hear…”

Brother: “So, basically, the Highway Code is that everybody has to get out of your way, whether they can see you or not, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re doing it?”

Friend: *Smugly* “It’s legal. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

It was insanely illogical, but he was completely serious. I’d love to see him argue this if — or rather when with this kind of attitude — he gets stopped by the police.

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What is the absolute most stupid thing you’ve heard a customer say?

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