Riding 'positively defensively'

I really enjoyed this guest blog from a certain 'Gordon' on The London Cyclist site. One phrase I particularly loved was his tip 'ride positively defensively'. It's a nice way of summing up the attitude you need to thrive as a cyclist in London - being 'positive' in the sense of having confidence in your right to cycle, and in your road positioning and signalling (all of which helps reduce uncertainty in other roads users around you); while being 'defensive' in the sense of being vigilant to potential hazards such as pot holes, drains, adverse weather conditions, vehicles turning (especially lorries turning left), or pedestrians that look like they may step out ('the sooner you see something the more time you have to act', Gordon reminds us).

The more I think about it, acting 'positively defensively' is a good maxim for life in general: being defensive in the sense of never being flippant, always being on the ball, and being aware of others around you and the potential consequences of your actions; while being 'positive' in the sense of being proactive, communicating clearly and being sure of who you are and what you know to be right.

Positively defensively: 'this may sound like an oxymoron', notes Gordon, 'but it is one of the best bits of advice that I can give'. Indeed.

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