LETTER: Surprised by cyclists’ letter
I was rather surprised at the Postbag feature ‘selfish’ cyclists’ from Mrs P Munson in last week’s paper as it was full of inaccuracies.
Riding two abreast actually shortens the distance required for overtaking and therefore can be less ‘selfish’ than riding in single file. Riding too close to the edge can be dangerous as it encourages close overtaking.
Driving too close to cyclists or ‘encouraging’ them to move over is threatening and intimidating. While the Highway Code does suggest that cyclists should ride in single file on ‘busy or narrow roads’ the road pictured was neither ‘busy’ nor ‘narrow’.
There was even a car overtaking in a safe manner on the other side of the road.
The author might also be surprised to learn that most adult cyclists hold a driver’s licence and many cyclists have insurance too. ‘Road tax’ does not exist, but if referring to Vehicle Excise Duty, (which is a pollution based tax), if it applied to bicycles, it would be charged at zero rate.
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Besides, cyclists are subjected to the same taxes as everyone else and therefore contribute equally towards the roads.
But probably the most worrying thing was the author’s self-confessed standard of driving. If any driver finds that they are regularly braking sharply, then they are not anticipating or giving enough space. Also, driving more slowly and smoothly reduces emissions, it will cut fuel consumption and save money too.
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While no one will deny there are some poor standards of cycling on the roads, a cyclist may ride in a safe, controlled and predictable manner and still fall victim to careless driving.
The riders in the article appeared to be riding in a safe and proper manner.
So please remember that cyclists are people too and all they want to do is stay safe. They don’t wish to hold anyone up, but would rather drivers wait until it is safe before they try to pass.
So if there are cyclists ahead please hold back, don’t get annoyed and when you do pass them please leave them plenty of space. If that means using the other side of the road, then wait until there is nothing coming the other way.
If you give cyclists space, you might find that they will move out of the way much more quickly when it is safe for you to pass.