We need to look at motorists
I AM forced to write in response to the recent outrage surrounding pavement cyclists.
The way these stories over the last month have repeatedly been reported lack any genuine perspective and simply keep asking the wrong questions.
It should not be how do we get cyclists off of our pavements but why it is that cyclists have to go on pavements in the first place?
Is it because on British roads there has been a notable increase in death and serious injuries amongst cyclists (an 8% year on year increase to be exact- see Department of Transport official statistics) or is that we have incidents that see motorists torment and attack cyclists on a daily basis?
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
For example, in Bristol alone, just in the past year, The Post has reported on two separate incidents that have seen a bus driver purposely using his vehicle as a weapon against a cyclist and a moped rider shouting abuse at a cyclist and then attempting to ram into them.
From my own personal experiences as a cyclist, I, on average, receive abuse ranging from motorists speeding up behind me, beeping at me, shouting at me and making comments about my cycling that makes me feel that I am a nuisance on the road.
This abuse is particularly worse if you are a young woman as sexist comments are often a part of these daily experiences.
Ultimately, this can make the roads feel very dangerous and risky for the everyday cyclist making the pavement a very tempting alternative.
In order to see any real change we need to stop blaming the cyclist and finally look towards the motorist. This would see a change in attitudes towards the cyclist and lead to motorists being more respectful towards them.
As part of these changing attitudes perhaps The Post would think more carefully about writing articles that further perpetuate negative attitudes towards the cyclist in an already hostile environment.
Negative attitudes surrounding an issue that Mayoral candidate, Jon Rogers, claimed actually only reflected 5% of the cyclist community in Bristol (as reported by The Post).
Yet, this still makes front page news demonstrating, in my opinion, quite clearly the prejudices that surround the cyclist.
Ultimately if cycling on pavements is a safety issue then surely this is again why we must look towards the motorist.
On average a car accident will happen everyday and the amount of damage and destruction cars have caused and will continue to cause will always outweigh anything a bike could ever do.So why is there not more outrage over this? Is it because it is a part of our everyday experience that it simply just goes unquestioned? Probably.
So really what I'm asking for is some perspective over the real problems that surround this issue.
This means moving away from campaigners taking pictures of the 'culprits' on pavements and starting a more sustainable campaign that would see fewer cars on the road and more people cycling. Surely this would lead to less car accidents, safer and quieter roads and more positive attitudes towards the cyclist that would ultimately keep cyclists on the road. This would quiet all those outraged people and provide a deeper understanding over why cyclists are tempted to use the pavement now and again.