Dangerous roads force us onto pavements
THE whole discussion about cycling on the pavement needs to be kept in perspective and not frothed up with an excess of emotion from either side.
The report on people cycling in the pavement outside Primark and Debenhams (Post August 31) is very interesting.
I cycle that way myself sometimes, on the pavement, slowly.
If people are cycling aggressively, too fast, and endangering pedestrians, they should be prevented and/or fined, because that is very poor behaviour and simply wrong.
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However, you have to ask why people are going that way, and the answer is simply: because, like pedestrians, they do not wish to be in the road with traffic. The traffic on the road to the roundabout is horrendous – very fast, and very polluted. Remember a bus driver deliberately rammed a cyclist and was caught on CCTV and prosecuted. This is a notoriously dangerous stretch of road to cycle on. That is why I do sometimes go on the pavement, slowly, looking out for people.
Cyclists are human and will avoid dangerous spots. We want to get to the underpass and then pick up the route, avoiding the snarling roundabout.
It is interesting in the report that there is no mention made of any cyclist actually hitting a pedestrian or anybody being injured. Sadly there are also thoughtless, unthinking pedestrians who step into cycle lanes without thinking and can and do cause harm to themselves and others!
The council spokesperson says there is a cycle lane by the side of Primark. This is news to me. What cyclists need is a safe route to get to the underpass, away from traffic.
The report shows that there is no such proper cycle lane, and the underlying problem is that Bristol needs to provide more cycle lanes, more facilities for cyclists which are safe and away from traffic.
Cycling and walking are being partly encouraged by the council but we really need to do a lot more.
And let's remember, cyclists and pedestrians can and do very happily co-exist in "shared space", for example Queen Square.
The deeper issue is therefore the role of motor traffic in the city centre, and reclaiming spaces for people to walk and cycle. We need to invest in a proper cycle route along this stretch so that a solution can be found which pleases everyone. In the meantime, cyclists should go very slowly and very carefully, and if needs be get off and push (I do as needed). There is no excuse for anti-social cycling, and there is no excuse for not providing more and better cycling facilities for the benefit of everyone.
I TOO have experienced stupidity by the idiots of the road, the cyclist (The Post August 29). I have seen this sort of thing many times.
The latest case of mine happened last week. Having stopped at the lights at the bottom of Temple Meads Station Approach, a woman on a bike approached the red lights. Did she stop? No chance.
I am now fighting back at these idiots. I let her know what I thought of her actions by blasting my car horn, with which she turned around still carrying on cycling and raised two fingers to me.
Being me the lights having changed to green, I sped off at speed, drove right alongside her, again blasting my car horn. No doubt it scared the living daylights out of her. It may have brought her to her senses, but if it hasn't beware, I am after her and any other cyclist who does the same thing.
I WILL continue carefully to cycle on the pavement with my young children until they build safe cycle ways, a white line does not constitute one. I mean a concrete barrier separating cycles from cars.
The government will probably not want to fund this because to do it properly roads will have to be widened. However, if they are serious about cycling it needs to be done. Every day cyclists are seriously injured and killed by reckless drivers.