Road users don't always share the highway in harmony
Road users don't always share the highway in harmony

Road users took the vexed relationship between motorists and cyclists online with a Twitter spat between #bloodydrivers and #bloodycyclists today.

Britain's crowded roads make it easy to generate friction between fans of four wheels and acolytes of two-wheel transport. Meanwhile social media is the ultimate soapbox for anyone who is 'mad as hell' about anything.

So a row between cyclists and motorists on Twitter may just be the perfect blend of message and medium. And today it came to pass, with both sides lining up to take pot-shots at each other in 140 characters.

Neither faction in this modern-day tussle for supremacy requires much encouragement to list the various crimes against safety and common sense committed by the other side.

Of course, in the real world motorists and cyclists co-operate just fine most of the time with one another. But such nuances have no place in the online theatre of keyboard-based adversarial combat which is Twitter.

Be it cyclists for knocking off rear-view mirrors and gleefully ignoring red lights, or motorists who fail to look when turning left or stubbornly riding in forbiddein sacroscant bicycle lanes - everyone is guilty on Twitter.

Today it appears cyclists had most to gripe about - which is not surprising considering they are mere flesh and bone, at sore risk of harm from the fast-moving metal cubes inside which motorists are comfortably cocooned.

Eight cyclists have been killed in London so far this year in collisions with vehicles - often it is lorries turning left which are the other party in such cases.

Rancour between the groups reached a peak earlier this year when a cyclist was tipped off the road by a trainee accountant, who then launched a Twitter rant against her dazed victim. The tweet went viral and before long Emma Way, 21, was ruing the episode in a TV interview.

Way tweeted: "Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax."

The episode also brought to public attention the non-existent road tax - a common reference to a vehicle's tax disc. Cyclists do not pay road tax because nobody pays road tax. Roads are funded from general taxation. The tax for cars, vans and lorries is an Excise duty.

Below are a selection of tweets on the vexed issue of #bloodydrivers and #bloodycyclists.

First of all, Emma Way's classic #bloodycyclists tweet from earlier this year: "Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax #bloodycyclists"

Then @09EA63: "If there's a cycle lane pls use it. Don't mind otherwise."

A sizable proportion of the #bloodycyclists hashtags appeared to be used ironically by cyclists. Meanwhile on the other side of the debate is #Bloodydrivers:

@Sonicsol tweeted: "Locked brakes, skidded to avoid a car sailing straight through a rndbt, appears giving way to right doesn't apply in Chertsey."

@gazza_d tweeted: "Park-and-ride discount for cyclists scrapped because of abuse by drivers The fecking cheek of #bloodydrivers."

@coshgirl tweeted: "Idiot driver cut up cyclist carrying shopping to speed into tesco on lea bridge road for a u-turn."

Finally, an even-handed contribution, with @MikeBerne tweeting: "As a cyclist and a driver i wouldn't say #bloodycyclists or even #bloodydrivers Plenty of idiots in each category."