Velo Sek, a cyclist from Nice who rides to condemn dangerous behavior towards bicycles
A new generation of activists on social networks is warning about certain practices of drivers and campaigns for better consideration of cyclists. He does not hesitate to point the finger at the city of Nice to defend his case.
3260 people died On the roads in mainland France in 2022, a record comparable to before the pandemic. The number of cyclist deaths rises to 244 in 2022, a 30% increase from 2019. Information published by the Road Safety Authority on February 1.
We don’t know his name. We could baptize him “Retro expert Paf”, describes himself by referring to the impact on the mirrors of cars passing too closely. But we’ll settle for his Twitter moniker, Vélo Sec. It is on the blue bird social network that our masked cyclist works more. He had a YouTube channel, but he’s having fun with it.”feeding him regularly is a lot of work“.
It’s been 4 years Vélo Sec is located in Nice. After a few years in England. Every day, “to enjoy cycling, contact with space“, “vélotaffeur” pedals for about two hours to and from his job in Monaco. On the Côte d’Azur, he appreciates “unusual roads and landscapes“Everything can be very pink and run like clockwork.
And when he gets on his bike, Velo Sek says that he should regret the unfortunate events. Uncivil behavior, even downright dangerous. And this happens regularly, much to his delight: “cars parked in bike lanes, it’s like that every day. Low limits are also very common, whether intentional or careless. And this is very dangerous, because the draft can upset the balance of a very sensitive cyclist.“.
A self-proclaimed “cyclist” has decided to attach a dashcam to his helmet to warn of the problem that reckless drivers are creating for him. He turns it on during all his home work trips and films all the dangers he is exposed to as a cyclist. Having made advocacy for bicycles the main reason for its media presence, it publishes Vélo Sec Videos mentioned on Twitter.
Because social networks give it a certain visibility, and often it is the detractors who passionately defend a cause. “There are people, cyclophobes, who oppose me, what I do,“Before adding Vélo Sec says:”but there are many people who support me. I get the impression that my opinion is becoming more and more divided“In any case, like it or not, the activist is determined to shine a light on the challenges faced by cyclists in Nice.
Society is not aware of all the dangers that cyclists face. That’s why I’m making a film, to change everything!
Velo Sek, warrior cyclist
Vélo Sec is not anti-car. He even drives it from time to time. “I’m not at war with cars, I’m at war with dangerous drivers. And as I often say, they only make up 1% of drivers. But that’s enough to cause trouble“A cyclist reports. Especially according to him, illegal parking on bicycle paths goes unpunished.”Every time I call the municipal police or gendarmerie to report a badly parked car, they refuse to check. Maybe instructions were given not to verbally announce vehicles parked on bike lanes?he asks himself.
In addition, Velo Sek draws attention to the inappropriate behavior of law enforcement officers: “When I talk to them about the law or the traffic code, they threaten me. They ask what country I come from because I have an accent. It’s always the same: ignorance, intimidation, arrogance, denial and malice…“
In its publications and articles reposted on Twitter, Velo Sek openly and bitterly criticizes the city of Nice. He does not hesitate to directly challenge the elected officials GaEl Nofri. The mayor’s deputy in charge of traffic and parking is no longer surprised, but he is not the least bit annoyed. “He is the Ayatollah“, he immediately exclaims, “he mixes belligerence and malice and is incapable of understanding the city’s problems. It pits users against each other, an example of what not to do.
Reminding of the alleged sympathy of the municipal police against vehicles parked on bike lanes, Ga.ël Nofri spontaneously answers: “this is a page“.
The municipal police are developing many protocols and we have developed a new automated video reporting system. We went from 6,000 word of mouth in 2020 to 8,000 in 2022Gaël Nofri, elected representative of the city of Nice and member of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolitan Council.
The elected representative of Nice prefers to defend his balance and the bicycle project: “we have created many cycle paths and have a fairly ambitious cycle plan for the term.“. However, he admits that “it doesn’t mean everything is fine. There are bad practices to root out from both sides. I am against both cars parking anarchically and bikes going the wrong way or rolling on sidewalks.
Without denying some frivolous practices going on in his city and knowing that it will take time for everyone to adjust to it”new practices and arrangements“, Gaël Nofri expresses everyone’s desire”just stop looking at his personal business“and calls”think about the city as a whole“. I’m not sure that pHis complaint does not reach the ears of our cycloactivist, if the latter wants to listen to what he regularly talks about on social networks.
In the eyes of Vélo Sec, the cause he espouses is clearly just. Are the processes he uses, such as broadcasting videos of traffic violations without holding license plates, legal?
No, according to this lawyer.
In such circumstances, the fact of broadcasting a video showing the registration number is illegal, because this number can become an element that allows to identify the person behind the wheel. According to Article 226-18 of the Criminal Code, he is punished with 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 euros.
But the lawyer of the Nice bar also observes an amusing paradox, for “According to Article 537 of the Criminal Code, the police can also look [Vélo Sec] uses his videos as a witness to identify and punish traffic violators.“.
according to EMilie Bender, it is rare that everything is in such proportions. But it remains theoretically possible, and one day or another there is reason to put a sofa on the wheels of Vélo Sec, as well as the car drivers it dislikes.