What antisocial activity unites all ages, both genders, all ethnic groups and, so far as I can make out, all social classes, turning them into obnoxious, arrogant and dangerous jerks who seem confident that the law will never be applied to them?

Why, pavement cycling of course.

There is rarely a day goes by when I do not remind a pavement cyclist that he or she should be on the road and that, no, I am not going to get out of their way.

Their response is either a glassy-eyed stare into the middle distance, a breezy acknowledgement that, yes they know they are in the wrong (but so what?) or a tirade of abuse and threats.

From their champions comes no proper condemnation.

Criticism of pavement cycling from the likes of Boris Johnson seems to be accompanied by the sort of smirk that says “but we all do it so it can’t be really wrong”, a bit like expense-fiddling, tax-dodging and other middle-class crimes that without question swamp shoplifting and benefit fraud both in the amount stolen and in the corrosive effect they have on their practitioners’ attitude to the public realm.

Their view of this precious concept is akin to that of many gumchewers to the pavement, that of the litter-lout or the dog owner who does not clean up after his pet.

But pavement cyclists are brazenly open in their contempt for other pavement users. They seem to develop a “high-horse” mentality once on the saddle and to hell with anyone who might reproach them.

The section of pavement in Battersea Bridge Road between Prince of Wales Drive and Cambridge Road is a regular shortcut for pavement cyclists, many of whom accelerate to the sort of speed that is one day going to lead to serious injury.

Where did this confidence that the law will never be applied to them spring from?

They certainly have every justification for their confidence.

When was the last time anyone was prosecuted for an offence I see committed quite blatantly dozens of times each week?

Has plod been quietly told to turn a blind eye, lest too many white collars get felt? What is it about cycling that turns so many people into oafs? Look at Andrew Mitchell.

Why on Earth did he expect a bloody great set of gates to be opened for a man on a bike?

But judging by the attitude of pavement cyclists hereabouts I would reckon most, if not all, of them would demand nothing less.

Surely the bike manufacturers can be persuaded to include with their products a message to purchasers on the lines of “We hope our product does not, for once, turn you into a loathsome berk.

It usually does but fortunately it will cost you nothing in terms of fines, convictions or even social disapproval”.

I have yet to hear MP or councillor condemn in appropriate terms antisocial lawbreaking that, were it confined to benefit claimants would have the Daily Mail (and all the other newspapers designed for people who do not want to think) foaming at the gob.

There is a mountain of hearsay and manufactured outrage concerning those at the bottom of the social heap, but not so much as a molehill of those commodities when it comes to mass-participation obnoxiousness on the part of those supposed to know so very much better.

It is almost as if the sales pitch should be: “Bring out the bastard in you by buying a bike and not bothering who gets in your way when they have no chance of hurting you as much as you are likely to be able to hurt them.

“It’s the guiding principle of life really, and it comes totally risk-free.”