OR If you are a careful driver, you’ll probably be a considerate cyclist
As a pedestrian, cyclist and driver I found the link below from the BBC website interesting:-
Cycling has really taken off in recent years due to the high cost of driving, a need for folk to be fitter and for environmental benefits too. Of course, this means that some who become cyclists have not ridden a bike since they were a child. In turn, this can make them think they can ride around like they did when they were a child i.e. at speed, on the pavement and that scattering old ladies is fun. NO, no, no……
Adults should be riding on the road, not the pavement
In my view, the police should tackle adults riding on pavements as they are a danger to pedestrians, except where a wide/widened pavement has been designated for shared use between cyclists and pedestrians. Such shared spaces/routes are normally marked out, although one council (Sefton on Merseyside) created a shared space/route alongside the A59 through part of Maghull some years ago but has still to mark it out, despite being reminded to do so by me!
But I digress. So having established that adult cyclists should be on our roads, excepting the above of course, then why aren’t they? Two reasons I guess:-
* they were told to ride on the pavement as a child so still do
* they are frightened/lack the confidence of riding in traffic with vehicles
Yet when I’m out and about I do see some parents teaching their youngsters to ride safely and on the road too. It’s all about building confidence and experience and learning the rules of the road as a cyclist. I took my Cycling Proficiency Test when I was 9 or 10 in 1968. I even have a photo of the event at Rochdale Town Hall – see below (I’m 3rd from the right):-
That old test is now called ‘Bikeability‘ but is still essentially a similar thing to what I took i.e. it prepares youngsters and indeed the not-so-young for our roads so they can ride safely and confidently.
There are so many bad drivers these days, there’s no surprise that when a bad driver gets on a cycle they’ll be a bad cyclist too!
If we are to meet environmental targets to combat global warming many more of us are going to need to walk and cycle short journeys in and around our communities. Yes, of course, the elderly and those with disabilities may well not be able to do this but you get my drift. This means that the number of cycles on our roads is only going to increase and that’s surely a good thing. However, I’m not convinced that compulsory cycling testing is the way forward as it will push against folks taking cycling up. Yes, I’d like to see all cyclists taking safety and confidence-building training but I’m not going to say you have to. Driving a vehicle is akin to being given your own private guided missile; vehicles are dangerous because of the speeds they can do. Cycles are hugely different and are positive because of their beneficial attributes – environmentally friendly, improve the fitness/health of riders and they are very cheap to run/maintain.
Yes, those who have spent many years driving everywhere all the time will be horrified by this blog posting as they probably see cyclists as being all but their enemy because they
* slow vehicles down
* get in the way
* their riders (some of them anyway) have poor road sense just like many drivers
The point here is that increased cycling and walking and less vehicle use is actually all about change and we don’t really like change, do we?
On yer bike